Sixth-grade students in the Highland Community Unit School District and St. Paul Catholic School had the opportunity to participate in the worldwide Agriculture Safety Day program Friday, May 12 at Lindendale Park. The educational program provides training and resources for local communities to conduct one-day safety and health programs. Safety Days are designed to be age-appropriate, hands-on, fun, and safe for children.
According to the Progressive Agriculture Foundation, “Many in agriculture know someone whose life has been affected by a farm-related injury or death. The statistics are sobering. Even more tragic is that these incidents could have been prevented with a few simple safety precautions. That’s why the Progressive Agriculture Foundation is on a crusade to bring safety and health information to the farming communities who desperately need it.”
The Agriculture Safety Day would not be possible without the support from many sponsors, as well as the dedication of many local volunteers who spent their day with the sixth-graders.
Duane Schallenberg, a farmer and firefighter from New Douglas, has the coordinator for the area for more than 15 years and put in countless hours preparing to provide a truly worthwhile experience for the kids. He enlists the help of Highland High School’s FFA program as well as volunteers from the agricultural community who are willing to share their knowledge and experiences with the children.
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Stations at Lindendale Park included lawnmower safety, gun safety, fire extinguisher use, first aid, anhydrous safety, farm safety, grain bin and power take-off safety, and a demonstration from Illinois State Police on motorcycle safety and seat belts. The day ended with two separate demonstrations by local fire departments, with Highland Fire Department demonstrating a car extrication and Highland-Pierron Fire Department showing a scenario of a car rear-ending a tractor pulling a disk, causing it to then ignite.